BC Lions pull off miraculous comeback against REDBLACKS

VANCOUVER — The BC Lions pulled off an improbable come-from-behind 41-37 win over the Ottawa REDBLACKS at BC Place on Saturday.

Trailing by 10 points with under two minutes left, Terry Williams brought a return to the end zone to cut the lead to three. BC’s defence then forced a quick punt and Vernon Adams Jr. put his team ahead with a touchdown pass to receiver Lucky Whitehead with 16 seconds left on the clock.

After a back-and-forth first half that had four lead-changes, the REDBLACKS got up by 19 points in the second half with two running majors by Dustin Crum and a pick-six by Douglas Coleman III before BC came storming back late for the win.

Adams Jr. finished with three touchdowns and three interceptions in an up-and-down game, but was able to put together two crucial scoring drives in the fourth quarter to cap off a miraculous comeback win for the Orange and Black.

Receiver Justin McInnis scored two touchdowns and backup quarterback Dominique Davis added a rushing major as the home team improved to 9-4 on the season.

Crum finished with three rushing touchdowns and an interception as the REDBLACKS dropped to 3-10, six points behind Hamilton for third place in the division.

Kicker Lewis Ward went three of four – including the kick that Williams returned for a major – in the losing effort for Ottawa.

Lions KR Terry Williams #87 Photo: Paul Yates/BC Lions

Ward got the REDBLACKS on the board first with a 53-yard field goal early in the first quarter.

Two drives later linebacker Emmanuel Rugamba came on a blitz off the edge and tipped a pass by Crum that fell into the arms of Ben Hladik for an easy interception. The offence wasn’t able to capitalize on the field position though as kicker Sean Whyte came up short on a 50-yard attempt.

Punter Stefan Flintoft added a single for the home team with 3:15 left in the first.

Ward and the REDBLACKS responded with another 53-yarder to push the lead to 6-1 in the final play of the quarter.

The Lions put together a scoring drive to open the second quarter and take the lead. Adams Jr. went deep looking for receiver Keon Hatcher who was held by defensive back Sherrod Baltimore leading to a pass-interference penalty that moved the ball up to Ottawa’s two-yard line. From there it was BC’s backup pivot Davis breaking the plane of goal the major to take an 8-6 lead with the point after by Whyte.

Ottawa answered with an 11-play, 81-yard drive that stalled in the red zone and ended on a 21-yard field goal by Ward.

The lead didn’t last long for the REDBLACKS as Adams Jr. and the Leos marched down the field one more time to score their second major of the game. The quarterback connected with Whitehead for 19 yards and Jevon Cottoy for 22 before throwing a rainbow for McInnis in the left corner of the end zone to go up 15-9 after another successful extra point by Whyte.

The visitors were able to fight back in the first half with their first touchdown drive of the afternoon, an eight-play, 72-yard campaign. Crum calmly marched the REDBLACKS down the field with three straight short passes to receiver Justin Hardy before running back Devonte Williams broke a 17-yard run to the right to put Ottawa in position to score. The touchdown came with Crum launching himself into the end zone on a three-yard run to retake a 16-15 lead for the REDBLACKS going into halftime.

Whyte got the Lions in front once more with a 38-yard field goal to open the third quarter.

Crum started the second half as he finished the first, engineering another touchdown drive for the REDBLACKS. Ottawa’s pivot again went to Hardy a couple times to move the chains before calling his own number in the red zone for a four-yard major where he found the edge to the right and beat a horde of BC defenders to the pylon. The point after by Ward made it 23-18 in favour of the visitors with 7:43 left in the third.

Adams Jr. was intercepted by defensive back Sherrod Baltimore at midfield to set up another scoring drive for Ottawa. Crum completed four of five passes before scoring his third major on the ground to extend the lead to 30-18 with 2:44 to go in the quarter.

A bad third quarter turned worse for the Lions when Adams Jr. was intercepted again, only this time Coleman brought it back to the end zone for the pick six and a 37-18 lead.

The bad news kept piling up for the home team as Adams Jr. briefly left the game with an injury on a running play on the final play of the third quarter. Whyte made it a two-possession game early in the fourth after backup Dane Evans took over at quarterback.

BC’s special teams unit blocked a punt to shift the momentum towards the home team as Adams Jr. returned to the game with the ball on Ottawa’s 39-yard line. The veteran pivot quickly found Whitehead open over the middle to move the ball into the red zone but could not convert third-and-eight as the Lions turned the ball over on downs with 9:36 left in the game.

Defensive back Deandre Lamont got in front of another pass by Adams Jr. later in the quarter to stop another promising drive by the Orange and Black.

BC’s quarterback got another chance and found McInnis for their second touchdown connection with 2:22 to go in the fourth but the Lions could not convert the two-point attempt and the game remained at two-possessions in Ottawa’s favour.

That was when Williams brought a missed field goal by Ward to the house to make it a three-point game with the clock showing 1:35. BC got the ball back one possession later with 0:49 left for a chance to tie the game. Only the Lions would not settle for the tie. Adams Jr. found McInnis down the right sideline for a big gain before connecting with Whitehead for the game-winning score.

The REDBLACKS are back in action in Week 16 against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday, September 22. The Lions meanwhile go on the road that same day to face the Edmonton Elks at Commonwealth Stadium.

Today's CFL is more than just our great game of football. It's fans sharing their excitement for what they see on the field, and what they experience off it. Stay up to date on all the non-stop action at CFL.ca.